MONTREAL — Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s first multi-point game of the season for the Islanders came as he logged more than his average ice time of 15:11.
Granted, it was just 28 seconds above his average. But it’s a start for Barry Trotz.
"This year, I’ve sort of lost him a little bit in terms of his role because we’ve added some pieces," Trotz said before Pageau scored his first goal of the season in Thursday night’s 6-2 win in Montreal.
"He’s gone from playing both the power play and penalty kill to just the penalty kill, and his minutes have been reduced. I think I’ve got to give him a little bit more. He deserves more as a player. He’s a better player when I give him more."
The Islanders (4-2-2), on a 4-0-2 point streak, will continue their season-opening 13-game road trip in Winnipeg on Saturday night. They did not practice on Friday.
Pageau has remained a versatile two-way center between Zach Parise and Oliver Wahlstrom on the third line. But with both his linemates on the second power-play unit, Pageau sometimes can miss a shift after a man advantage to give the other two time to recover.
He gave the Islanders a 5-0 lead over the struggling Canadiens as he established position near the left post and converted a one-timer off Parise’s accurate feed from behind the crease.
"Playing with Zach is something fun. He’s a hard-working player who’s always in the right spot and always there to cover you," Pageau said. "That goal was all him."
Pageau later had an assist on Brock Nelson’s empty-netter, giving him a goal and three assists in seven games.
"He’s probably, under the radar, one of the best two-way players in the league," Trotz said. "I trust him in all important situations. I trust him when the game is on the line."
Pageau’s time-on-ice average ranks sixth among Islanders forwards. His average of 1:48 of shorthanded time is third on the team.
He said it is up to him to show Trotz he deserves more ice time.
"Barry is a very good coach to communicate with his players," Pageau said. "Personally, I know I can give more. He’s put the chances on our side every night to win and put the players on the ice that he thought deserved to be out there. The only thing I can do is be better every day."